Could you be addicted to online card games? Addiction to computer Solitaire is a real condition that may require professional treatment.

Video game addiction may sound familiar, but could you be addicted to computer Solitaire? Addiction to Solitaire could be a real mental health condition that requires treatment. Computer Solitaire addiction may be fueled by the accessibility of the game on Microsoft computers. While the digital version of the classic card game has been celebrated in an annual holiday, some experts are beginning to question if it has addictive potential and could be detrimental to people’s mental health. When computer games, or any video games, impair regular functions in life, they may represent an unhealthy addiction and require treatment.

Diagnosing Solitaire Addiction

In 2018, the World Health Organization officially classified gaming disorder as a disease. Computer gaming addiction is illustrated by behavioral addiction examples, such as:

  • Feeling an inability to control gaming habits
  • Prioritizing gaming over responsibilities, interests or activities
  • Gaming despite consequences

While many people think of a child addicted to video games, adults are just vulnerable to this condition. These symptoms must form established patterns of behavior for diagnosis.

Understanding Addiction

Games like Solitaire provide positive and negative reinforcement. This pattern has been observed by experts in the American Journal for Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Comparing subjects by measuring dopamine releases in the brain, researchers found that the three main reasons people are addicted to computer games are:

  • Emotional outlet
  • Sensitization
  • Reward

Video games as a coping mechanism to deal with stress is a cycle perpetuated by the desirable release of dopamine in the brain. Video game obsession has been analyzed by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, which found that excessive and compulsive video game playing leads to internet gaming disorder. Conditioning due to dopamine release increases the addiction potential of online games. Games that activate the brain in this way can provide a temporary escape from direct concentration. This may only feel like an innocent distraction, but it can lead to more serious mental health issues over time.

A Focus on Mental Health

The nature of video games and mental health does not appear to be impacted by the nature of the game in question. While games that are highly disassociative, imaginary or require complex avatars and alternate worlds may seem to be more addictive, games like Solitaire impact the simple functions of the brain in the same way and can lead to video game addiction. Over the course of a two-year study, the American Academy of Pediatrics evaluated over 3,000 children who played video games. They were able to find direct correlations between the amount of time spent playing these games and social issues, depression, social anxiety and impulsiveness. This, in turn, may lead to pathological gaming.

Is Solitaire Ruining Your Life?

Video game addiction treatment is available. If Solitaire or any other online game is negatively impacting your life, it is important to take this dynamic seriously and seek help. The Recovery Village offers a variety of valuable resources for people who live with video game addiction that co-occurs with substance addiction. Reach out to a representative today for more information.

Megan Hull
Editor – Megan Hull
Megan Hull is a content specialist who edits, writes and ideates content to help people find recovery. Read more

American Academy of Pediatrics. “Video Gaming Can Lead to Mental Health Problems.” January 17, 2011. Accessed August 30, 2019.

Weinstein, AM. “Computer and video game addiction-a comp[…]s and non-game users.” American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, September 2010. Accessed August 30, 2019.

Wells, Sarah. “National Solitaire Day is May 22 — we […]game is so addictive.” Business Insider, May 16, 2019. Accessed August 30, 2019.

World Health Organization. “Gaming disorder.” September 2018. Accessed August 30, 2019.

Zastrow, Mark. “News Feature: Is video game addiction really an addiction?” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, April 25, 2017. Accessed August 30, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.